Even experienced boomers face challenges in today's landscape with their small business.
According to The Kauffman Foundation's 2017 State of Entrepreneurship Address, among the biggest megatrends reshaping entrepreneurship in America are new demographics. The report states that the population of the United States is increasingly older. By 2050, three out of every 10 U.S. adults will be past retirement age.
Well before 2050 arrives, entrepreneurs of a certain age are already on track to start a small business. Instead of staying in the corporate world or trying to get back in after a lengthy absence, middle-aged 'treps and boomers that opt for entrepreneurship can pursue their dreams and be their own boss.
However, even the most experienced 50-something might feel nervous about the challenges of starting a business in today's modern landscape. Keep calm and don't be afraid to get started. Below I debunk the four biggest myths surrounding boomer entrepreneurs starting a small business later in life.
"I'm too old."
Age is nothing but a number – remember that idiom? It still rings true in today's entrepreneurial landscape. While it may feel like every successful entrepreneur is a twenty-something with an app, the truth is 'treps starting businesses in their 40s and 50s (especially women) are a fast-growing group.
If you're passionate about a product or have a great vision for a service, don't let your age hold you back from getting started. You may not be able to pull all-nighters like you did when you were younger, but age has brought with it plenty of opportunities and wisdom. At this stage in the game, you have years of valuable experience in your field, contacts to network with and creativity to share backed with strategic plans to make the dream business a sustainable reality.
"It's too risky to start a business."
That one's all truth and no myth – entrepreneurship requires putting in time, energy and hard work to reach your goals. And even then, there is no guarantee of success. Taking risks is what being an entrepreneur is all about, but the good news is that when you get started later in the game, you can afford to be more cautious with your approach.
If you think your startup may take time to catch on with your target audience, consider working a side hustle for extra income. You may also consider investing in a franchise in an industry you have plenty of experience in and run the business under an already established brand. If you're confident about the future of the business you want to start, incorporate or form an LLC. This gives you liability protection to keep your personal and professional assets separate, ensuring you won't risk losing your belongings if the business goes under.
"I don't know where to find capital."
Many older entrepreneurs face fewer financial obstacles funding a small business than young entrepreneurs. Established credit, a nest egg in savings and dipping into 401(k) plans may all serve as capital to help grow a business. However, not everyone is in the position to put their life savings on the line for a startup – and not knowing where to find money can stop the business before it gets started. Take care when investing in your new startup, survey all financial options available, and consider your personal finances too, as they ultimately factor into finding capital.
Editor's Note: Looking for financing for your business? We can help. Use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:
"I can't handle it – this business is too much work."
Feeling rusty when it comes to wearing lots of hats at once, especially ones you may be unfamiliar with like digital marketing or social media? That's okay! Older entrepreneurs understand their strengths and weaknesses. If there are weak spots, hire a team that understands those areas backward and forward. One aspect of business that will never be a myth? Working alongside smart, talented people, from mentors to employees to partners who will help strengthen and grow your brand.